November 13, 2016

Synaxarion of Saint John Chrysostom

On the thirteenth of this month [November], we commemorate our Holy Father John the Chrysostom, Archbishop of Constantinople.


The golden John having shut his mouth,
Has left to us another mouth: his books.
On the thirteenth the lips that were golden fell silent.

This great luminary, and grandiloquent teacher of the ecumene, was from the great city of Antioch, and was the son of pious parents, his father being Secundas a military officer, and his mother Anthousa. Immediately therefore from his early youth, the Saint had much love and passion for discourses and lessons. For this reason he soon went through all the wisdom of the Greeks and Christians, and he attained the farthest point in the art of logic and rhetoric as well as every science. Wherefore due to his progress and virtue, he entered the clergy through Saint Meletios the Patriarch of Antioch as a Reader. By Flavian of Antioch he became a Deacon and Presbyter. His golden pen authored many discourses, that practically surpass being numbered, such as one "On Repentance," as well as one "On Good Manners and Attitude." And he interpreted practically all of inspired Scripture. When Patriarch Nektarios of Constantinople reposed in the Lord, with the election of the Bishops and at the order of Emperor Arcadius, John was called from Antioch and became the canonical Patriarch of the Queen City.

This renowned man gave himself so much over to asceticism and self-control, to the point where he only nourished himself on barley juice. And he did not satisfy himself with it, but would only consume a little. And he slept little, not resting on a bed, but while standing and being held up by ropes. Only when he grew very tired did he sit for a little bit.

At this time the divine Father applied himself to interpreting the sacred Scriptures, as well as to discourses and teaching, by which he brought many to the knowledge of God and repentance. So extreme was his philanthropy and that to the poor and those in need he became an imitator of Christ, so that he became to everyone a model and example of love of poverty. For this reason in his discourses in the church he taught all Christians to love and to energize this virtue of love of poverty, and to abstain from greediness.

This caused him to collide with Empress Eudoxia, and he came in enmity with her. Because she seized the vineyard of a widow named Callitrope, and this woman appealed that she did not receive her sum of money, the Saint advised her to not hold on to what did not belong to her. Because she was not persuaded, the Saint rebuked her and held her up to shame by comparing her with Jezebel. Thus Eudoxia became enraged like a beast, and she removed the Saint from his throne. At first she did this on her own, then through those Bishops who followed more after the power and hasty judgments of the dignified rulers rather than piety and divine law. Later the Saint was restored to his throne.

Finally the Saint was exiled to the Caucasus in Armenia. There he endured many tribulations and brought many unbelievers to the knowledge of God. He delivered his soul into the hands of God in the year 402.

In the biography of the Saint it is written, that after the divine Father was removed from his throne and exiled, all those Bishops who worked together to bring this about, first suffered terribly with diseases, and then died. This sickness first came upon Eudoxia, for she was the first to be lawless, and became the agent by which the Bishops were destroyed. It is said that after her death, to show how unjust she was against the great Chrysostom, her tomb trembled and shook for a period of thirty-two years. When the relic of the Saint returned to Constantinople and was put in its place where it now is, then her tomb became still and trembled no longer.

Apolytikion in Plagal of the Fourth Tone
Grace like a flame shining forth from thy mouth has illumined the universe, and disclosed to the world treasures of poverty and shown us the height of humility. And as by thine own words thou teachest us, Father John Chrysostom, so intercede with the Word, Christ our God, to save our souls.

Kontakion in the Second Tone
Thou hast received divine grace from heaven, and with thy lips thou dost teach all men to adore the one God in Three Persons. O John Chrysostom, most blessed Saint, we rightly praise thee; for thou art our teacher, revealing things divine.